Breaking cocoons

So I mailed a friend a package of the first 4 pages of one of my stories last week.

It's amazing how many emotions this one small act evoked.  Fear.  Embarrassment.  Self-consciousness.

The act of taking those pages and putting them in an envelope suddenly took me outside of myself and I could see things more objectively.  Or at least I thought I could.  It's hard to say.  I might be seeing things through my lens of fear and low self-esteem (haha).

Suddenly, this little tale which I'd been nurturing in my imagination seemed flat and weird and strange and embarrassing.  And yet, I mailed the pages anyway.  It's a step, a step into something.

If I want to be a writer, I have to get past this fear of letting people read what I write, don't I? 

I sent my writing to a very good friend with similar taste in books and movies.  She and I connect like kindred spirits.  By sending it to her, I was trying to stay within the realm of safety - I wanted someone with a shared POV to read it.

And yet now I'm a little afraid.  Perhaps I need someone with a very outside POV to read it.  Perhaps my friend will only see me in it and all my foibles, my likes and dislikes, my personality, my past.  Perhaps she will see (or imagine) shadows of people we've known in my characters. 

And yet, she's a more soft place to fall right now than a total stranger. 

Next step.  Total stranger.  So I think I'm going to start looking for some kind of writer's critique group to join.  EEEK.

When I'm writing, I form a cocoon around myself and my story, shutting out the outside world.  This feels necessary, to fall under the spell of the story and create a world where it exists without a constant critic hanging over my shoulder. 

I don't want to break that cocoon too soon since I'm still writing this story.  And yet I also want some outside perspective to know if I'm in la-la land.

What to do?

Any of you artsy, creative or crafter types have these issues too when you share your work?


  1. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and commenting as well! Meeting other writers is fantastic! I've only been on the blog front for roughly 5 months but I am loving it and the connections I'm making with buddies on the blogosphere.

    This is an issue I had problems with at the beginning but the more and more I write the more comfortable I am. I am with you as far as sending it to a fellow friend, it's still outside your comfort zone but you won't have to fall near as far. My husband reads my work and of course he will often be biased but the information he shares is very helpful. I have a crit group and though they are nice I don't like their style of critiquing so I too am looking for something different. I want to know if my character is likeable, if you believe her situation and if overall you like the feel. Luckily I have one blog friend who has taken a look at several of my pieces and overall likes the work but is willing to help me on the technical portion which I do need help on! Finding the right person is key but you took the first step and it's fantastic!

    If you ever want to swap a chapter to see what it feels like to critique a little by all means send a piece my way and I'll send a piece your way! My email is jenniferdaiker(at)gmail(dot)com. Sometimes having a total stranger look at it is nice becuase if you didn't like it they never have to know you didn't take their advice!

    Happy Tuesday! (P.S. Sorry for the novel!)

  2. know exactly what you mean, even though I am not a writer {except for my blog, natch}, but I have an artist's soul. I used to sell my work to gift shops and boutiques. I would just drop in, and show them my wares. It makes me feel ill just to tell you that. :} Sharing what you have wrought feels like exposing your soul for examination, and judgement. I suppose you really are exposing your soul, in a way . . . Your art, whatever form it takes, is an expression of your soul . . . that's all there is to it.

    If I could bring myself to tell the shopkeepers why I was there, they would sell my things, but more often than not, I would leave without ever showing it. It is very difficult. But I could walk in anyplace and sell your goods for you . . . That must be why you get an agent. {Now, I only do it if they ask me. It's a lot easier on the stomach.)

    I wish you the best. I hope she loves it.

  3. I have a friend who had a similar dilema. She took a class and was terrified of having people read her stuff. But she was very glad she did it and she said it got easier every time. I'm sure you will come out a beautiful butterfly!

  4. Oh my goodness this post spoke to me. I so have issues right now with work that i have done for a couple of people. I wish I didn't fret so much.

    I could never be a hairdresser.

    Keep at it though!

    xx - Christina

  5. Hemingway once said ""You lose it if you talk about it." Sometimes it's ok to keep things under wraps until you're ready, really ready. :D

    Stumbled on your blog somehow... cheers!

  6. Wow, I wasn't expecting so many great comments, full of good advice and fellow feeling. Thanks everyone!